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Journal of No. 118


June 9th, 2006

$.75 fiction review @ 01:36 pm

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Oh, they've got no time for glory in the Infantry.
Oh, they've got no use for praises loudly sung.
But in every soldier's heart in all the Infantry
Shines the name, shines the name of Rodger Young.

On the island of New Georgia in the Solomons
Stands a simple wooden cross alone to tell.
That beneath the silent coral of the Solomons
Sleeps a man, sleeps a man remembered well.


From the booksale last month, I finally picked up and read Heinlein's Starship Troopers.

Disclaimer: I love the film. I've heard enough people badmouth the film, because it isn't true to Heinlein's vision. Fuck Heinlein's vision. The film is brilliant as a satire and parody of exactly the kind of jingoistic idiocy that's got the USA so messed up at the moment. Yes, yes, there's also the Denise Richards factor. She should definitely be punished and confined in a room somewhere. Like, my bedroom, for example.

As for the book, I had always pictured the book as a straight version of what the film parodies, but this isn't entirely the case. The book is really more about what it's like to be in the Army. And in many ways, the book succeeds best as a humorously exaggerated (or perhaps not so humorous or exaggerated) description of how the military works. I think probably more than half the book goes by before Johnnie gets through basic training. Sure, there's some bug-killing, but not nearly as much as I'd expected. Apart from Johnnie's story, there are also a few tedious sections of Heinlein's philosophy being forcefully injected into your brain: You have to serve in the military to become a full voting citizen... communism is bunk... violence solves everything... everyone should be able to cook a quiche or perform a vasectomy. It all sounds more and more like some cantankerous old fart, circa 1960. Oh, and it's a pretty useless gimmick to wait until the last page to reveal that Johnnie is Filipino. Like we care? I guess that's so we would know that Heinlein's future was not quite the John Bircher utopia that his detractors worry it is.

Bottom line:
A for slice of military life
B for killing bugs and science fiction-y rompiness
c- for warped philosophy

Anyway, speaking of Bugs.... I think they're trying to take aim.
 
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Journal of No. 118